Brenda Fehr makes sure she checks in daily with the horses in her care at a farm just southeast of Calgary.
“Babies, come here, come on,” Fehr said to a couple of the animals at the 160-acre farm on a December afternoon.
For roughly 11 years, Fehr has rescued horses and brought them to live on the Dare to Dream Horse Rescue farm. More than 300 have resided there over that time and that number will grow according to Fehr, who said 2019 could be her busiest year yet because Alberta still hasn’t recovered from its economic downturn.
“People are losing their jobs. They’re losing their homes,” Fehr said.
“How are they going to afford to pay board on a horse?”
Fehr said a large number of the horses that end up on her farm would have otherwise been slaughtered. The farm purchases horses from meat buyers who acquired the animals at auction.
“A lot of people do not understand that when they take a horse to auction and just leave it and walk away, they have no idea that it’s more than likely going to a meat buyer,” Fehr said.
She noted that not all horses purchased by meat buyers go to slaughter — some may be rehomed if they have certain potential.
Dynamite is one horse on the farm that likely wouldn’t have gone to slaughter, according to Fehr. She said the horse is the granddaughter of the Triple Crown-winning American thoroughbred Seattle Slew and was identified by a tattoo.
However, Fehr said she feels the same way about all the horses that roam on her farm, regardless of their linage. She added that her operation will do its best to tackle 2019, even if demand for services continues to rise.
“To look into a horse’s eyes, when they know they’re safe, that makes it for me,” Fehr said.
“I don’t care what anybody says, these horses have high emotions.”